With the new year here, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some easy and effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint. These would make excellent New Year’s resolutions as you begin a more planet-friendly lifestyle.
1. Meatless Mondays: Sub one meal a week for a vegan or vegetarian dish! Taking meat out of one meal a week has a huge environmental impact while also being a wonderful healthy option! Check out my Pinterest board for loads of vegan mealtime inspiration. Need more motivation to skip meat/dairy at mealtime? According to EWG over the course of a year:
*If you eat one less burger a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for 320 miles or line-drying your clothes half the time.
*If your four-person family skips meat and cheese one day a week, it’s like taking your car off the road for five weeks – or reducing everyone’s daily showers by 3 minutes.
*If everyone in the U.S. ate no meat or cheese just one day a week, it would be like not driving 91 billion miles – or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.
2. Walk, Bike, Carpool or Use Public Transportation: Not only will you be reducing carbon emissions but you will also save your wallet every time you opt to use one of these alternative transportation methods. Additionally, you will gain health benefits every time you walk or bike! If driving is your only option be sure to combine your errands into one outing and pay close attention to your driving habits (i.e.: accelerate slowly, maintain a steady speed, anticipate starts/stops) .
3. Reduce Paper Waste: With nearly everything being digital now, it is incredibly easy to reduce your amount of paper waste. Change your bills to an e-bill format, opt for an e-book over a new paper copy, save and reuse paper that has been printed on one side, use voicemail/fax/email whenever possible, and use reusable shopping bags– these are all great ways to limit the amount of paper waste!
4. Buy Locally Made Products: Whenever you purchase products from a local source, you are contributing to a positive change that avoids mass industrial production that relies heavily on fossil fuels for processing/packaging/transportation. Additionally, when you choose to buy local organic products, you are avoiding chemical pesticides which can be detrimental to both yourself and the environment.
5. Recycle and Buy Recycled: Implement recycling in your family so that it is easy for everyone to get involved. Put bins all around the house so that it is easy to remember. Also, repurpose bottles, paper, and cardboard tubes into fun DIY crafts! When shopping, look for products that are made with post-consumer waste- school/office supplies, stationary/greeting cards, clothing, and children’s toys are all examples of things that are made from recycled materials.